News & Analysis

What Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Says about Customer Service


By: Sheshgiri Kamath

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is quite recurrent in motivational theory, but what how can we relate to it in terms of understanding customer needs?

Today, being on social media or providing customers an omni-channel experience at just about every touch point is beyond just a choice that businesses have anymore. Undoubtedly, delivering exceptional customer experiences is slowly becoming the parameters of running an e-commerce business. Brands need to be exceptional today just to keep their head above water tomorrow.

When applied to questions that are related to products or services that we use or are considering buying that’s called self-service. Personally, I am of the opinion, helping customers solve problems when and how they want is a stepping stone of a great customer experience.

But, based on our expertise and understanding of how we or customers at large self serve, one would think that companies would be pretty good at building a knowledge base with content or tools that help customers answer their own questions when they erupt, right? Wrong. To help businesses ensure they’re adopting the best practices to reduce their customer churn rates, we created a hierarchy of needs for customer service:

Looking at the right data: CRM platforms will help pull out reports, including reports on customer communication, allowing team managers to compare customer interactions based on employees and ticket SLAs, and who gets the most customer complaints. So, in a way, the more sophisticated your CRM system is, the more options you’ll have to manage the data.

Reviewing these reports should be a part of the team evaluation process, which in turn increases responsibility that every single call and email interaction matters, not just for customers but for them too. These reports can identify patterns and create appropriate training opportunities to teach customer-facing teams on how to handle interactions.

Personalization: The next step to improving the level of customer service your business is training the team on how to adapt to the system for taking the right decisions. One of the most valuable features a CRM offers is the ability to view in-depth client information. However, many companies spend time and resources implementing customer relationship management systems and then don’t establish processes for teams to use the information at their fingertips. Training employees on the nitty-gritty’s and vital functions of a CRM system is necessary, but so is training them on the process.

When an agent is on call with a client he should have pertinent information on his dashboard so he can personalize the conversation. Personalizing a call with pleasantries is good; understanding the problem, reviewing past orders and interactions can give agents insight on how to best communicate with every customer.

Feedback & Surveys: Every company’s workflow is different, so combining your CRM efforts with survey initiatives to effectively fetch information and improve your overall customer relationships. CRMs and survey research, together is essentially a powerful combination. With both at your disposal, you can have the information and the tools to keep your business moving in the right direction.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a great way to quantify your efforts and recognize outreach opportunities. This single-question survey is sent to customers to get a concise understanding of the most satisfied and most infuriated customers, classifying them as promoters, passives, and detractors.

Contact-center customization: Building significant help center experiences involves more than just creating a knowledge base and adding hues of color or a fancy UI design—it involves processes and behind the framing of information that truly would empower customers to self-serve and feed them with the right information, In fact, 92 percent of customers only consider self-service as an option if it requires no effort and is modified to their needs. The source code is the building block of the help center—if and when there’s an issue, you can refer to the source. To build a functional and scalable help-desk team, organizations need to focus their attention to smaller details. Even miniscule details can work as a hurdle to the customer experience and create problems for users.

Content should ideally take maximum effort when it’s initially being curate. But, when organizations let it go obsolete, they risk having to write it all over again. Brands should have the right approach to support content to make sure it evolves with inconsistent and changing customer needs and expectations. Therefore, agents should continuously skim through articles for an update and tag tickets with frequently asked questions.

(The author is Co-founder & CEO, Kapture CRM, Cloud-Based SaaS Customer Relationship Management Software for enterprise. The views expressed in this article are his own)

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